I’ve often been asked the question ‘What is Web 2.0’? Normally it’s followed quickly by the question ‘how do I make money out of it?’ Recently I’ve been thinking that Web 1.5 might be a better term (as it is an upgrade to the web , with a mix of shiny new and old but reliable techniques).
While there are many sites jumping on the Bandwagon and claiming the Web 2.0 Title, Tim Ziegler writing on Webmonkey gives a very good summary of what most Web 2.0 sites have in common. As always, you’ll be able to find true Web 2.0 companies that break these ‘rules’ , but it’s as good a place to start as any.
In Summary, Web 2.0 Sites / Companies / Products tend to:
- Build on the notion of ‘the long tail’ where niche demand meets niche supply , a cost-effective and profitable market due to lower transaction / search costs on the Web.
- Web as a platform. It doesn’t matter where you are , or what computing you use. As long as you have a web browser you can use these products.
- Ajax , a technique that combines the power to traditional Desktop Applications (like Word and Excel) , with the ‘use anywhere-ness’ of web pages.
- Smart Content Management. Create and publish a web page as easily as a Word Document. Forget needing to know FTP , HTML , CSS and other low level tools of a previous generation.
- Dashboard Views. Because Web pages are published in Machine as well as Human Readable format, it is easy to create summary, Dashboard views.
- Give it away to get more back
- Human Filters or Trust your users. Also known as ‘Many hands make light work’.
- Iterations , or many small releases (easy because the software runs in only one place) is better than one big bang.
- Simple is good. Forget feature overload – think iPod.
. It is alleged that in earlier days Microsoft was more willing to tolerate piracy of it’s office suite in order to get ‘critical mass’ – missing out on revenue initially, but growing the cake substantially in the process by becoming the de-facto standard. It may have worked for them but ‘give your product away to get a core of paying users’ won’t impress too many VC’s.
So that answers the ‘What is Web 2.0’ Question. Up to you to find out how to make money out of it.